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Pearson v. Shalala
This was a landmark case in which AAHF, joined by four other plaintiffs, sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and won. Along with Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw, Citizens For Health and The National Health Federation, AAHF sued the agency for violating the First Amendment as well as the Administrative Procedure Act by not allowing the dissemination of truthful, scientific information on dietary supplement labels, and by holding manufacturers to an undefined standard called "significant scientific agreement." On January 15, 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed, directing the agency not only to devise a definable standard, but also to permit the use of disclaimers on labels.

Medicinal Use of Marijuana
AAHF joined Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw and Dr. Julian Whitaker in filing a suit challenging the Federal Government's efforts to over ride states' Constitutional right to regulate the practice of medicine via its policy against the medicinal use of marijuana. We also filed an injunction enjoining federal departments and agencies from initiating civil, criminal and administrative proceedings against plaintiff physicians who practice in states where the medicinal use of marijuana is permitted by law. While AAHF has not taken a position on the medicinal use of marijuana, we do believe that if a state legalizes such use, then the Federal Government must not interfere.

On April 19, 2001, Senior U.S. District Judge William Bryant denied the relief we requested and granted the government's motion to dismiss. He rejected each of the constitutional and administrative law grounds we raised to challenging federal policy prohibiting physician prescription and recommendation of medicinal marijuana and characterized the attack as one on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). He wrote "… the CSA is a valid exercise of the Commerce Clause. While the Federal government may not invade the province of that reserved to the States under the Tenth Amendment, when Federal and State law conflict, Federal law is supreme." He recommended that we either file a petition with the Drug Enforcement Agency to permit reclassification of medicinal marijuana or seek relief from Congress.

There is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court a case that may determine the ultimate fate of all medicinal marijuana cases now in the federal system. The decision in that case is pending. We have not yet decided if we are going to file an appeal in our case.


Dietary Guidelines for Americans
AAHF joined a successful lawsuit by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine which was designed to persuade the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture to revise the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. PCRM worked to push these federal departments to acknowledge the prevalence of lactase nonpersistence in African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans and therefore make dairy products optional, rather that required, in the Guidelines and in federal food programs. The Committee also believed that the Guidelines need to recognize the disproportionate toll prostate cancer, diabetes, and hypertension exact among people of color and to encourage the healthiest possible diets to help reduce this toll. The Committee successfully recommended that soy-based beverages with added calcium be included in what had been called the "dairy group;" and recommended that the Guidelines be revised to include a fully-developed section promoting vegetarian and vegan diets. The Committee also asked that meat and dairy products be listed as optional food sources, rather than recommended or required. The Dietary Guidelines 2000 Committee did declare that plant foods - vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes-are the foundation of a healthy diet, but did not make particular reference to vegetarian or vegan eating patterns, and failed to acknowledge the benefits thereof in preventing chronic diseases. The Guideline Committee's report and recommendations can be found at www.ars.usda.gov/dgac. Click here to link to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine' web site and press release on this subject. http://www.pcrm.org/news/health001002.html

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American Association for Health Freedom
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